EMP Threat From North Korea, 2013

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry


North Korea’s third illegal nuclear test on February 12, 2013, was followed  by increased international sanctions, that prompted escalating threats from  North Korea to make nuclear missile strikes against U.S. allies, South Korea and  Japan, and the mainland United States.  President Obama denied that North  Korea could deliver on these threats, claiming that North Korea does not yet  have nuclear armed missiles–despite assessments to the contrary by DIA, CIA,  and NATO.

Three months earlier, on December 12, 2012, North Korea successfully orbited  a satellite, the KSM-3, thereby demonstrating the capability to deliver a small  nuclear warhead to intercontinental ranges–against any nation on Earth.   The Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from  Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack assessed that Russia, China, and North Korea  (with help from Russia) have probably developed nuclear weapons of special  design that produce a low explosive yield and high gamma ray output in order to  generate an extraordinarily powerful EMP field.  The Russians term these  “Super-EMP” weapons.  Independently, South Korean military intelligence and  a Chinese military commentator in open sources credit North Korea with having  Super-EMP warheads.

Continue reading

World War?

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine to seize the Crimea on February 28, 2014, reporting by the mainstream media has focused on President Obama’s threats to impose economic sanctions on Russia in retaliation.  Media pundits have spoken of the “standoff” and the “stalemate” between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine–as if economic sanctions against a handful of Russian oligarchs is somehow strategically equivalent retaliation for Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Indeed, mainstream television and newspapers have reported with grim satisfaction that President Obama is “ratcheting up” the sanctions, trying hard to create the impression that Moscow must be quaking with fear.  Mainstream media pundits have reported, largely uncritically, Obama’s claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s  seizure of Crimea is archaic behavior belonging in another century and “an act of weakness.”

Viewers of ABC, CBS, NBC, and MSNBC, and readers of the New York Times, USA Today and etc. might well get the impression that President Obama’s sophisticated use of the “soft power” of economic sanctions will inevitably prevail over Dictator Putin’s old fashioned military muscle flexing.

Continue reading

Ukraine: Wake-up Call For NATO

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

In the long history of war and peace, numbers matter.

If Ukraine is annexed or dominated by Moscow, Russia will again directly confront NATO in central Europe. New NATO members Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland are no match for Russia. Nor are traditional NATO members in Western Europe what they were during the Cold War. They are no match for the modernized Russian Army.

Collectively, the armed forces of NATO’s 27 members (excluding the United States) seem impressive at about 1.7 million active duty, although this is only about half their Cold War strength of 3.3 million. European NATO (including Turkey) collectively has 6,000 tanks and 2,000 fighter aircraft among 27 member nations.

However, NATO’s European members have very little power projection capability–their armed forces are largely incapable of traveling far beyond their national territories. Only the United Kingdom has significant power projection, estimated capable of sending 30,000 troops overseas.

France, after the U.K. estimated to have the greatest power projection capabilities in Europe, had great difficulty projecting even a small force numbering 2,000 Foreign Legionnaires to Mali in January 2013. France needed help with aerial refueling and logistical support from the U.S., Canada, and Britain.

When European NATO led the bombing campaign against Libya in March 2011, they quickly exhausted their ammunition. They needed resupply from the United States.

European NATO was hard pressed to conduct military operations against Libya–a helpless adversary.

Russian armed forces comprise 1.4 million active duty troops, 3,300 modern main battle tanks (18,000 more tanks in reserve), and 2,750 military aircraft.
Continue reading

Nuclear Iran: The Sanctions Delusion

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

The Obama Administration, and its critics, are mistaken that Iran’s nuclear negotiations are motivated primarily by economic sanctions.

Since revolutionary Iran’s seizure of the U.S. Embassy in 1979, every presidential administration has imposed on Iran new and ever more stringent economic sanctions restricting trade and seizing financial assets.  Most recently, in 2010 and 2013, President Obama imposed the latest round of economic sanctions, advertised as the most stringent ever, that include prohibiting banking transactions in the rial, Iran’s currency, and even restricting importation of Iranian caviar.

Historically, economic sanctions have had little or no discernible effect on altering Iran’s dangerous behavior, such as its world leadership of international terrorism and its development of nuclear weapons. Analyst A.E. Torbat concludes, “overall, the sanctions’ economic effect… has been significant, while its political effect has been minimal.”

Mistakenly, the Obama Administration and its critics both assume that Iran’s primary reason for initiating negotiations over its nuclear program is the coercive success of economic sanctions. Much energy is being expended, uselessly, debating whether the threat of additional economic sanctions will finally compel Iran to give up its aspiration to become a nuclear weapons state. The short answer is — economic sanctions did not bring Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.

Continue reading

If Iran Already Has The Bomb, What Then?

Hardening infrastructure will be key to minimizing the threat

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

A majority of Americans support a military strike to stop or slow Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But that assumes Iran doesn’t already have some.

What if Iran already has one or more nuclear weapons and the capability to make a nuclear strike on the United States – right now? If true, this would change the calculation for the American people. Then the risks of a U.S. or Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear program would change radically.

The truth is, no one knows for sure just how far advanced Iran’s nuclear weapons program is. There are sound reasons for doubting Washington’s official estimates that Iran does not yet have the bomb or the ability to make a nuclear strike on the United States. The U.S. Manhattan Project during World War II, working with 1940s-era technology to develop nuclear weapons that were then merely a theoretical possibility, succeeded in building two working atomic bombs of radically different designs – in just three years. Iran supposedly has been struggling to develop nuclear weapons for 20 years, with help from nuclear-armed Russia, China and North Korea.

Continue reading

What America Needs to Know About EMPs

The threat of an electromagnetic attack is real, but preparing for one shouldn’t be too difficult.

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

Weinberger alleges that the EMP Commission and concern about the EMP threat is strictly partisan. But the EMP Commission’s bipartisan credentials are impeccable. It was established by a Republican-dominated Congress in 2001 and re-established by a Democrat-dominated Congress in 2006. Commissioners were appointed on a bipartisan basis. The EMP threat, and the necessity to do something about it, is one of the few issues on which Democrats and Republicans in Congress are working together.

Weinberger asks why nuclear terrorists or rogue states would prefer to use a nuclear weapon for an EMP attack, instead of blasting a city. The short answer is that an EMP attack could inflict more and longer-lasting damage and kill many more Americans in the long run. Blasting a city cannot paralyze the United States and will leave forensic and other evidence that will virtually guarantee the destruction of the perpetrator. An EMP attack is the only option for a single nuclear weapon that offers terrorists or rogue states any realistic chance of defeating the United States, perhaps eliminating the United States as an actor from the world stage, permanently.

Continue reading

Underestimating North Korea and Iran

North Korea and Iran are not re-inventing the nuclear wheel. They can draw on a vast treasure trove of declassified information about U.S. nuclear weapons development. And they cooperate with one another. And we are talking EMP.

By: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

The West consistently and unwittingly cooperates with North Korea and Iran by underestimating the advancement, sophistication, and strategic implications of their nuclear weapon and missile programs.

Despite North Korea’s successful long-range missile test in December 2012, and now its third successful nuclear test on February 12, 2013, the Obama administration and the press keep reassuring the American people that North Korea is not yet a fully fledged nuclear weapons state – that a North Korean nuclear missile threat to the United States is still years in the future.

The facts do not support this judgment. North Korea is already a major nuclear threat to the United States–an existential threat.

Common wisdom in the press, encouraged by the Obama Administration and North Korea, is that North Korea has not yet miniaturized nuclear warheads for missile delivery, and that its nuclear tests are in pursuit of designing a nuclear missile warhead. Indeed, the Obama administration and the western press both naively took at face value and parroted North Korea’s public claim that their third nuclear test is for nuclear warhead miniaturization.

Yet this claim is almost certainly disinformation designed to conceal that North Korea’s nuclear weapon program is advanced far beyond warhead miniaturization. Miniaturization to develop a nuclear warhead is not difficult to do, and can be accomplished even without nuclear testing.

North Korea and Iran both have strategic reasons to mislead and conceal from the West the true status of their nuclear and missile programs. They intend that the U.S. and its allies will underestimate those programs, fail to act in time to stop them, and be strategically surprised when North Korea and Iran become nuclear super-powers, and progenitors of a dystopian new world order.

Continue reading

Nuclear Storm Warnings?

By: Peter Vincent Pry

White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Sir John Beddington, Science Advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a recent joint article “Celestial Storm Warnings” published in the New York Times, warned that a solar flare from the Sun could cause a great geomagnetic storm, with catastrophic consequences for the United States and the world.  A great geomagnetic storm would generate a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could destroy electronic systems and collapse all the critical infrastructures–power grids, communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water–that sustain modern civilization, and the lives of millions.  Holdren and Beddington write reassuringly that “work to protect our societies is well underway.”

Unfortunately, the truth is that work to protect our societies has not even begun.  Those of us who have dedicated careers to protecting the American people from an EMP catastrophe know that no actual technical work is yet underway to physically protect the national power grid from EMP.  We are running out of time to make this happen.  As Holdren and Beddington note, the solar maximum, and increased possibility of a great geomagnetic storm, is fast approaching, now less than a year away.

The press remains largely in the dark or indifferent to the EMP threat.  For example, on February 15 (the same day as a worrisome solar flare that fortunately missed the Earth) a new Congressional Caucus convened for the first time–the Congressional Caucus on EMP.  And the EMP Caucus rolled out a newly minted bill–the SHIELD Act (HR 668).  Both the Caucus and the SHIELD Act are intended to protect the U.S. national power grid from an EMP event generated by the Sun or  by hostile actors.

Continue reading